Here’s the op-ed that appeared in the Albany Times Union August 14, 2020:
When the Soviet Union fell apart in 1991, there was hope of a new world order with nations united on behalf of world peace. Thirty years later we’re still waiting. The main obstacle, ironically, is the United Nations. It’s time to replace that failed institution with an organization of nations dedicated to human rights and free elections.
The U.N. was designed to replace another failed institution — the League of Nations. Among other defects, the League was unable to prevent the Second World War. The U.N. hoped to remedy the underlying defects, but instead has institutionalized an equally damaging flaw by giving voting power to nations that routinely violate their citizens’ civil and religious rights and/or interfere in other nations’ governance.
The flaw is the notion that nations that disregard human rights will reform themselves if they’re granted the right to vote in U.N. affairs. That theory has proven as wrong as Neville Chamberlain’s attempt to stop Hitler by giving in to his demands — i.e., appeasement.
By granting voting power to human rights violators, the U.N. appeases violators while attacking Israel, a country that extends full rights to all of its citizens.
You might agree that the United Nations is flawed, but assert it’s better than nothing. I believe the harm it does is worse than its small contributions, but more importantly there is a model for a world family of nations that could accomplish over time the objectives an international peacekeeper should strive to achieve.
The model has many ideological roots. One root is science fiction author Orson Scott Card’s “Free Peoples of Earth,” an entity based on two principles: nations must join by plebiscite rather than by government decree, and people in those nations must be free to choose their own religion.
The people of today’s Earth are not ready for a nationless world. Rather, we need an international organization that is open to all nations, but only gives voting rights to those countries that grant its citizens universal suffrage, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of assembly, and freedom of the press. Further, all citizens must receive equal treatment by law without regard to race, gender, age, or other distinctions. A final requirement would be to exit the U.N. and remove its presence in their countries.
The United States should begin the move to create a Free Nations of the World by ending financial support for the U.N. and dismantling its New York City headquarters. The former members of the British Empire as well as members of the European Union would have no difficulty meeting the above requirements. Other nations are likely to follow when they see the U.N. no longer meets their needs.
A final justification for the establishment of a new international organization is the failure of the U.N.’s peacekeeping role, and the overwhelming desire of the American people to no longer be the world’s policeman. A FNW would have the power of economic sanctions to pressure nations to stop aggressive interference. It would also assemble a military made up of soldiers from its member states whose mission would be to prevent nonmembers from interfering in other nations’ internal affairs if economic pressure fails.
Medical doctors don’t leave cancerous tumors in our bodies in hopes that good cells will overcome the bad. On that same principle we cannot continue to allow the existence of the United Nations, which despite its lofty ideal is causing more harm than good. Taking out a political tumor, however, need not be the end of the operation. A new international organization whose voting members meet human rights requirements can be the force for world peace that the League of Nations and United Nations hoped to be but failed to accomplish.
• Peter G. Pollak is an author and the former editor of The Albany Liberator. He splits his time between Hamilton County and Maryland.